Deeper Story on the Meaning of Raised By Whales

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If you’ve spotted our bold Sanctuary Oysters packaging, then you’ve likely noticed the phrase “raised by whales.” You’re probably thinking—what exactly does that mean? For us at Sanctuary Oysters, it speaks to the importance of the El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, the pristine location of our farm.


The El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Baja California. In addition to housing two coastal lagoons and a unique, complex ecosystem, the El Vizcaino serves as a retreat for grey whales. These lagoons are recognized as the world’s most important mating and nursery grounds for the once endangered North Pacific grey whale. These gentle giants have the longest known migration of any mammal, travelling 10,000 to 12,000 miles every year. Once fall and winter come around, pods of grey whales make the long journey from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic seas to the warm waters of Mexico. After near-extinction as a result of commercial whaling, the protection of these winter breeding grounds has been paramount in the remarkable recovery of this species.


In our early beginnings, our founder Philippe was looking for a location that was pristine, clean and unpopulated to raise our oysters. He came across Laguna San Ignacio and Laguna Manuela, which both have great inflow and outflow of ocean water and happen to be in the biosphere reserve area. Once he saw this vast, untouched place where many biological wonders thrive, he knew he found the ideal environment for our oysters. And since it’s marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site—far away from modern civilization—he knew our oysters would be protected from harmful development for a long time to come.


To this day, we operate our farm with tenderness and care within this idyllic biosphere reserve. We use French above-seabed growing technology so our oysters can filter feed on natural, nutrient-rich phytoplankton. Additionally, we continue to implement responsible aquaculture practices to actively protect and maintain our region’s pristine ecosystem. Combine both of these together and you get delicious Pacific oysters with remarkable texture and appearance. And once fall and winter hit, we’re graciously visited by pods of grey whales just outside our lagoon. They can enjoy the clean, protected waters to mate and nurse their young calves. And come spring, they migrate up to their feeding grounds for the summer and we wait for them to visit us again. That’s why we like to say our oysters are “raised by whales!”


Every day we’re grateful to raise our oysters within a breathtaking area that preserves some of nature’s finest creations. It’s a daily reminder of why environmental stewardship is at the forefront of all our practices, no matter how big or how small. Are you ready to experience oysters “raised by whales”? Shoot us an email please at

Madeline Balicoco